Three evening personalities in Chicago were among an unspecified number of full-time employees laid off Tuesday in a massive restructuring of iHeartMedia stations nationwide.
The Chicago hosts affected are Chris Michaels of urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7, DJ MoonDawg (whose real name is Michael Muniz) of urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5, and Trace Hamilton of country WEBG 95.5-FM.
“Woke up a free agent today & I’m genuinely excited about the future,” DJ MoonDawg tweeted.
No word yet on how their shifts will be filled. Officials of iHeartMedia Chicago did not respond to requests for comment.
Michaels, son of the late Chicago radio legend Richard Pegue, joined WGCI in 2001 and moved to nighttime host on V103 in 2014. DJ MoonDawg joined WGCI as an intern and mixer in 2011 and was named nighttime host in 2014. Hamilton joined iHeartMedia as a promotions assistant in 2015 and became nighttime host at Big 95.5 in 2019.
In an email to employees announcing a “new organizational structure” and “technology transformation” throughout the company, iHeartMedia chairman/CEO Bob Pittman and president/COO Rich Bressler wrote:
As we move to more fully utilizing our investments in technology there will be some employee dislocation – some by geography and some by function – which is the unfortunate price we pay to modernize the company. We have had to make some tough decisions, and in the process some employees have been affected. Please know we were thoughtful in this process and have provided enhanced severance benefits as well as outplacement assistance for any impacted employees, and we want to thank them for the valuable contributions they have made.
Taken together, our transformation and modernization initiatives are essential to being competitive in 2020. They are intended to improve the way we operate and build new products while enabling us to better serve our partners and communities now and in the future.
These new initiatives are critical to not only continuing iHeart’s leadership position as the number one audio company in America but accelerating it. We are embracing our future. Thank you for joining us on this journey as we all look forward to an exciting new decade of growth, innovation and leadership.